Read The Rattle-Rat by Janwillem van de Wetering Online


Douwe Scherjoen was a well-to-do livestock dealer from the remote Dutch province of Friesland. Then his corpse was found, half-charred by flames, floating in a dory in Amsterdam's harbor. No one knows why he was in the nation's capital, far from the bucolic pleasures of his native village of Dingjum. But since Grijpstra is Friesian by birth and can understand the language,Douwe Scherjoen was a well-to-do livestock dealer from the remote Dutch province of Friesland. Then his corpse was found, half-charred by flames, floating in a dory in Amsterdam's harbor. No one knows why he was in the nation's capital, far from the bucolic pleasures of his native village of Dingjum. But since Grijpstra is Friesian by birth and can understand the language, he and his partner de Gier are dispatched to find the killer—or at least the motive for the crime. And they discover that while no one, not even his wife, liked the victim, the culprit is the unlikeliest suspect of all....

Title : The Rattle-Rat
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781569471036
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 293 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Rattle-Rat Reviews

  • Lukasz Pruski
    2018-12-20 18:27

    "United Europe [...] That's the dream. Why shouldn't it come about some day? All together and still apart? [...] United above all troubles?"Many years ago a dear friend of mine highly recommended Janwillem van de Wetering’s novels. I had tried to read The Corpse on the Dike and was able to get through just a few pages: I could not follow the bizarrely structured text. About 30 years later I decided to try again and chose a different book - The Rattle-Rat (1985). This time I managed to finish the book only because of my superhuman patience and dedication. I admit the plot is interesting and many characterizations and situations are presented with nice insights and a nice sense of humor but I will not attempt any other book by the author. The problem is that while I understand all the words and almost all sentences in the novel, I do not understand many paragraphs. Mr. van de Wetering’s prose constantly leaves me wondering whose point of view he is presenting at any given time. It seems that frames of reference change frequently within the same paragraph. The fault is not with the translation as I understand the author wrote himself two versions of the book: the Dutch one and the English one. An Amsterdam Police constable notices a floating fire, something burning in the waters of Amsterdam Inner Harbor. The next morning Adjutant Grijpstra and Sergeant De Gier of the Murder Brigade have to deal with a corpse burned beyond recognition, found in a blackened aluminum rowboat. The autopsy indicates that it might be a laborer's body but the expensive dental work does not quite match. Soon the suspicions as to the identity of the victim focus on a Frisian man and the criminal plot gains an accompanying motif of juxtaposing the northernmost province of Frisia (Friesland) with the rest of the Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular.Many interesting subplots contribute to the story: sheep trade, Chinese immigrants, heroin dealing, prostitution, Hong Kong vs. Singapore triads, and the rare disease of trigeminal neuralgia. Two threads make the strongest impression: Hylkje Hilarius, a Frisian police female corporal, offers a convincing characterization of a modern liberated woman. And of course we have the pet rat mentioned in the title. The rodent plays quite a prominent role in the plot.There is a lot of humor in the novel, most of it based on contrasting the good Frisians and bad Amsterdammers who wallow in filth. We are told about 167 times that the unnamed commissaris, Grijpstra’s and de Gier’s boss, was born in a city of Joure (city of 13,000 people) in Frisia. There are some funny sexual references like:"Why does your wife copulate in a cupboard?" Hylkje asked. "So that she may debauch herself in secret."We have quite a “socially progressive” ending, fitting the image of the Dutch as some of the most progressive people on Earth. And we have this wonderful passage, quoted in the epigraph, about the dream of united Europe: the dream that came true for a while and now is in grave danger of being trampled by nationalistic fervor.I like most things that are Dutch, I love my memories of Amsterdam, and the Dutch author Cees Nooteboom is my most favorite writer. If only I could understand the paragraphs written by Mr. van de Wetering!Two and a quarter stars.

  • Anna
    2018-12-23 21:41

    I remember Janwillem van de Vetering as one of the authors of whose I overdosed by the time I was 13. Yes, I never read any books intended for the young people. It went from fairytales to some adventure books, which were too predictable and boring, to Agatha Christie and books towards thrillers from that. I know I read some JvdW books when I was 12-13 but I don't remember much of the details, so in a way this was a reintroduction to him.Grijpstra and de Gier investigate a murder of a Friesian farmer, Douwe Scherjoen, whose activities are not always so legal. The investigations take them all the way to Friesland, basically a whole new country.Perhaps the story makes more sense in Dutch, or as a movie. There are many bizarre components in the book. Friesland is in Northern Holland, but is seen by the Friesians and the Dutch as a different country, and Friesian as a different language. As the Friesians see it, everything is better in Friesland, there is no crime, the Friesians are prettier, better behaving, and just better in everything as the people in the rest of the Netherlands. So obviously the body of Douwe is dumped to Amsterdam... add to everything odd the Friesians add a mixture of bizarre sheep farmers, Chinese restaurants, drug trade, and bizarre cash flows and even more bizarre personalities. Interesting components, and probably I'd have liked it more if I didn't remember having read these ages ago. How could I like these? The taste it left now, besides all components of the story and enough action is still boring. Perhaps I just needed something more adrenaline inducing as a read right now?

  • Jim
    2018-12-31 02:22

    Even though this is the quintessential Grijpstra / De Gier novel -- JvdW has never written a better book -- you probably shouldn't read it until you've gotten some background. First should be "Outsider in Amsterdam", then one or two more with these characters to get the complete flavor in your mind. Then you can fully enjoy them in this tale -- it's laugh-out-loud funny, and profound at the same time.It also can't hurt to read the author's tales of life in a Zen monastery, which grants insights into the behavior of his G & D characters. The Zen spirit infuses everything he writes.

  • Magali
    2019-01-12 18:23

    Je ne sais pas si ca vient de la traduction ou si J. Van de Wetering a changé sa façon de narrer pour ce livre, mais je trouve que la construction du texte est bizarrement faite. Du coup, c'est pénible à lire et ca rend le récit laborieux... Je préfère largement "Mort d'un colporteur" ou "Meurtre sur la digue".

  • Roxane
    2019-01-17 23:29

    A truly bizarre story teller - but so much fun to read. The author sneaks in these little snippets of philosophy, humor, wisdom, find yourself going back to re-read it just in case you misunderstood it the first time around.

  • Alison Hardtmann
    2018-12-22 20:24

    The Rattle-Rat is one of a series of Dutch police procedurals taking place in the early 1980s. In this installment, the detectives have to find the murderer of a corpse found in a burning dory floating in the Amsterdam harbor. The victim came from Friesland, on the northern edge of the Netherlands, and so there most of the action takes place.The mystery plays second fiddle to the interactions between the detectives, to jokes about Friesland and to showing how the changing roles of women affect everyone. There's a lot of odd comedy, which I couldn't tell if it was Dutch humor or simply the author's own, but I found it very funny with a weird combination of sarcasm and charm. The title of the novel comes from the rat they are asked to petsit in exchange for using the house of a Friesian police officer on holiday. The rat, Eddy, rattles rather than squeaks and his behavior, as well as the reactions of people to him, made him a suitable choice for the title. The changing role of women in the Netherlands is a major theme in this novel. For the most part, van de Wetering handles the subject with agility and humor although, to modern ears, a few of his jokes misfire badly. He almost, but not quite, manages to make the female characters as fully real as the male detectives. Here, the lead detective, the commissaris, speaks on the phone to his assistant:"Have Grijpstra called. He should phone me." The commissaris waited. The phone was quiet. "Dear?""Sir?""Is that understood?""You didn't finish your request.""My request is quite finished.""No," the soft female voice said. "You never said 'please,' so I'm still waiting, as is customary these modern days.""What are you?" the commissaris asked. "A communist? A feminist? I gave you an order. I don't have to say 'please.'""I'm not your slave.""Please," the commissaris said, "dear.""Thank you," the secretary said. "I won't insist that you call me 'miss.'""Is that so?" the commissaris asked. "The new rule allows for exceptions?""I think you're a dear, too," the soft voice said. The telephone clicked.The commissaris watered his begonias, while reflecting. They were right, he thought in between his reflections. They were abused, yelled at, repressed, underpaid, and over-worked. It had to come to an end, but why today?The appeal of this book lays in the characters that van de Wetering has created. I'll be looking for other titles in the series.

  • Stefan Percy
    2019-01-11 02:38

    This is book #10, in the Grijpstra & de Gier series, and this one takes place mainly in the Netherlands' northwest province of Friesland. The running gag in this book (which if this were a TV series, you could use as a drinking game) seems to be the commissaris' line "I was born here, in Joure" for me makes sure that everyone is well aware of this information.Once again, there are some interesting character names. For instance, there is a female motorcycle cop by the name of Corporal Hilarius, and two men with female names. Oh, and a rat, named Eddy, that rattles (hence the book's title). There is a fair bit of humour in this book too which made the reading very light and very enjoyable.The book is about a Frisian man that is murdered in Amsterdam, which leads the detectives of the Murder Brigade to the homeland of the commissaris and Grijpstra to try and solve the mystery of who killed the man, and why.In my opinion, this book was better than book #9 The Streetbird and much better than book #8 The Mind MurdersNow, to track down book #11 Hard Rain.

  • James Wayne Proctor
    2019-01-04 18:21

    Another highly enjoyable lark with inestimable Grijpstra and de Gier. For this outing, they visit the northern province of Friesland, where the locals take themselves and their heritage very seriously:"The coffee had been waiting on the mahogany table, in a silver pot between a silver milk jug and a silver sugar bowl. The adjutant was given the first cup, de Gier the second; the others received their coffee in order of rank.'Why are all of you so tall?' de Gier asked. 'Fertile Frisian soil,' the adjutant said. 'Pure air. I won't say that we are a super race, but we came out better. Handsome people, handsome cows.''Handsome sheep too?' de Gier asked.'Yes,' the adjutant said. 'When sheep originate here, they come out better.' His gaze shot down the length of the table. 'Has everyone been served?''Yes, adjutant.'The adjutant stirred. Everybody stirred. The adjutant took a sip. Everybody sipped.'Scherjoen bought and sold sheep,' de Gier said. 'Any sheep in Ameland?''Yes,' the adjutant said. 'Ameland is a Frisian isle, so Ameland sheep are Frisian too. A murder motivated by sheep?''I've never been to Ameland,' de Gier said.'You'll know better,' the adjutant said. 'I'm only a simple guardian of frontiers, a hunter of deserters, and a protector of royalty, that's all.''I don't know anything better,' de Gier said. 'I know nothing at all. I keep busy in case my superiors might be watching...'"

  • Mazel
    2018-12-29 22:37

    Douwe Scherjoen est mort à Amsterdam, loin de sa Frise natale. La Frise est une province de Hollande qui a des mœurs bien particulières. De Gier et Gripjstra en feront la découverte en compagnie d'un rat apprivoisé et asthmatique. L'enquête chez les frisons sera comme une aventure initiatique en terre étrangère. Dixième aventure des flics d'Amsterdam Gripjstra et De Gier, Comme un rat mort confirme et consacre le talent de Wetering, jugé par ses compatriotes comme le Simenon hollandais.

  • Lynne-marie
    2018-12-25 18:20

    A crime is Friesland, a northern, separatist part of Holland speaking a separate language and having different customs and values sends our now four policemen investigating: Grijpstra, the Commissaris, and Cardozo officially on the case and de Gier not officially having anything to do with the case. Of course it will be de Gier who will find the answer as will the Commissaris. In the meantime there's a lot of local color and general plot thickening as we expect of this author whose power are waxing even as we watch. A very satisfying read in a non-local venue.

  • Brian
    2019-01-06 22:47

    A very entertaining book, more for the likable characters and sly humor than for the mystery that's at the center of the story. For anyone interested in the The Netherlands, the book provides an insightful, and very amusing, look at the contrast between urban Dutch culture in Amsterdam and the distinctly different rural life of Friesland.

  • Basia Barbara
    2019-01-05 01:19

    Published in 1985, the book is a look at the Amsterdam Police force 35 years ago. The police proceedures and and dialogue between characters were not believable. I read one chapter and chose not to finish the book.

  • Harolynne
    2019-01-05 01:22

    I read many of van de Wetering's books 30 years ago and when I found this one in a local 2nd hand store, I knew I was in for a good read. Love the detectives, their procedures (somewhat unusual) and just the all around writing.

  • Millicent
    2019-01-03 21:26

    worth a read. geographically detailed. learned a lot about a very strange part of the netherlands - Frieslan.